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Using Social Security to Fight Bush’s War
I have a rational fear: a fear that the September 11th attack has given the Bush administration a free hand in pursuing a conservative domestic agenda. This has so far been unspeakable in the media. But it must be said, lest it happen for sure.
Where is the $40 billion for the war on terror coming from? Not from a rise in taxes and not from sacrifices to be made by the rich. Where then? The only available source I can think of is the Social Security "lockbox," which is now wide open. The conservatives have been trying to raid the Social Security fund for some time, and the Democrats had fought them off until now. Before September 11, the suggestion to take $40 billion from the Social Security "surplus" would have been indefensible. Has it now been done-with every Democratic senator voting for it and all but one of the Democrats in Congress?
Think of it: Are your retirement contributions-and mine-are going to fight Bush's "war." No one dares to talk about it that way. It's just $40 billion, as if it came out of nowhere. No one says that $40 billion dollars comes from your retirement contributions. No one talks about increasing taxes. We should at least ask just where the money is coming from.
If the money is coming from social security, then Bush has achieved a major goal of his partisan conservative agenda-without fanfare, without notice, and with the support of virtually all Democrats.
Calling for war, instead of mere justice, has given the conservatives free rein. I fear it will only be a matter of time before they claim that we need to drill for oil in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge for national security reasons. If that most "pristine" place falls, they will use the national security excuse to drill and mine coal all over the country. The energy program will be pushed through as a matter of "national security." All social programs will be dismissed for lack of funds, which will be diverted to "national security."
Cheney has said that this war may never be completed. Newt Gingrich estimates at least four or five years, certainly past the 2004 election. With no definition of victory and no exit strategy, we may be entering a state of perpetual war.
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The recession we are entering has already been blamed on The Attack, not on Bush's economic policies. Expect a major retrenchment on civil liberties. Expect any WTO protesters to be called terrorists and/or traitors. Expect any serious opposition to Bush's policies to be called traitorous.
Who has the courage to discuss domestic policy frankly since September 11?
Long after Bush’s plan was obvious, a New York Times editorial acknowledged that the money is coming from the social security "lockbox." A Wall Street Journal editorial called for the President to take advantage of the moment to push his overall agenda through. Senator Frank Murkowski introduced a rider on the war appropriations bill authorizing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve. The original name given to the operation was "Infinite Justice." This had the connotation of "perpetual war" in America; in Islam, where only God is Infinite, it had the connotation of war against Islam.